This issue of small press crime fiction week in review will be a little different again as trying to fight two weeks of news in one post would be overwhelming to this writer and most likely to the reader.
Bill Crider, author and supporter of the writing community, is entering hospice care. I know of Bill through his blog which covered oddish pop culture as posts about crime fiction and westerns. Earlier last week Bill posted this on his blog:
Things could change, but I suspect this will be my final post on the blog. I met with some doctors at M. D. Anderson today, and they suggested that I enter hospice care. A few weeks, a few months is about all I have left. The blog has been a tremendous source of pleasure to me over the years, and I’ve made a lot of friends here. My only regret is that I have several unreviewed books, including Lawrence Block’ fine new anthology, Alive in Shape and Color, and Max Allan Collins’ latest collaboration with Mickey Spillane, The Last Stand, which is a collection of two novellas, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” an early Spillane manuscript with an interesting history, and “The Last Stand,” the last thing that Spillane completed. It saddens me to think of all the great books by many writers that I’ll never read. But I’ve had a great life, and my readers have been a big part of it. Much love to you all.
New and Upcoming Releases
Dillo by Max Sheridan
Released December 8th
Artesia, New Mexico. Pop. 3012. There’s nothing 14-year-old Doc Candy likes better on a hot summer afternoon than snapping pictures of dead armadillos off Route 82.
Until a no-good grifter of a father he hasn’t seen in eight years comes blowing up to his window at two in the morning in a hot El Camino talking about a family vacation in Miami.
Their Florida reunion turns into a 2000-mile getaway when Doc finds out the money used to pay for the trip was stolen from his lowlife uncle, the manager of an illegal Apache casino.
But it isn’t until they’re hiding out in the Louisiana bayou that Doc learns the whole truth: it isn’t Doc’s uncle they’re running from. It’s a coal black Dodge Ram driven by a pair of bald, psychopathic teenage collectors looking to complete their gallery of human head hair toupees with the old man’s scalp.
Meat City on Fire by Angel Luis Colón
Down & Out Books
Released on December 4th
Angel Luis Colón invites you on a short tour of the world as a literary mix tape to that strange Goth girl with the lazy eye who still wants nothing to do with you; no matter how good that fedora looks on your head.
So what’s in store for your brain?
Follow three major moments in the life of gambling addict and mafia muscle Sean Clarke as he goes from soft-hearted kid to full-blown bastard to broken old man.
Thrill at the short-lived and incredibly violent courtship, marriage, and honeymoon of Hank and Annie.
The set of the country’s most popular trash TV talk show is appropriately trashier than what makes the air.
Beards make absolutely terrible trophies.
Sometimes you’ll crawl through the fire and smoke for a chance at a semi-decent score and a way out of working in a place called “Meat City”.
All that along with even more violence, revenge, Lee Van Cleef, light sex crimes, and cannibals than you can shake a stick at!
Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick
Released November 30th
Ali Dalglish is back in the role she loves: working alongside Vancouver Island’s Integrated Major Incident Squad and is once again partnered with Inspector Rey Cuzzocrea.
As the chemistry between Ali and Cuzzocrea intensifies so does the hunt for a twisted killer as they are tasked with solving a series of violent murders with links to a sinister paedophile ring in the idyllic island city of Cedar River.
In the midst of the chaos, Ali is pulled by her desire to find and save the children at the heart of the case but she is thwarted by an evil so cunning and powerful that it threatens to become the nemesis she never imagined possible: one that could bring her to her knees.
Wrestle Maniacs edited by Adam Howe
Honey Badger Press
Released December 1st
A dozen dark fiction masters bring their twisted vision to the world of professional wrestling. Twelve original stories of crime, horror, humor, and taboo. Ohhh, yeahhh! This ain’t no kayfabe, baby. This is hard-hitting wrestling fiction that grips like a Camel Clutch, and pins the reader to the page for the count of one, two…THREE!
Includes a confrontational foreword by ring legend ‘Pulverizing’ Pat McCrunch (as told to Jeff Strand)… An all-new story starring Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman from James Newman’s wrestling noir, “Ugly as Sin”… And ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer Reggie Levine (“Tijuana Donkey Showdown,” “Damn Dirty Apes”) returns for another action-packed misadventure.
Original fiction by: Jeff Strand, Tom Leins, James Newman, Eryk Pruitt, Adam Howe, Ed Kurtz, Hector Acosta, Joseph Hirsch, Duncan P. Bradshaw, David James Keaton, Gabino Iglesias, Patrick Lacey, and Jason Parent.
The Good Samaritan by John Marrs
Thomas & Mercer
Released on December 1st
She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?
The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.
Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.
But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?
The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…
Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.
The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury
Released November 28th
Do you love dark & compelling psychological thrillers? Mark Tilbury’s unmissable The Liar’s Promise is a suspenseful thriller which will have you gripped.
How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?
During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.
At her wit’s end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.
Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?
The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment
The Secret Child by Kerry Fisher
Released on November 29th
You can run from your past, but it will always catch up with you…
Susie was forced to do something she will always regret: giving her baby son up for adoption. Everything that led to this child, this choice, had to be buried and forgotten.
Her secret echoes down through the years, tainting everything it touches. Her husband wonders why his wife is so distant. Her daughters can’t understand their changeable mother.
Susie knows her past is pushing her family apart, and the guilt is eating her up, but she can’t escape the longing for her lost son. No-one but Susie knows the whole story, and when her daughters discover a piece of the puzzle, she must face the question she has struggled with for most of her life:
Would the truth bring them back together, or break them?
From the bestselling author of The Silent Wife, The Secret Child is a heartbreaking and unputdownable novel about family secrets and lies. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.
Blood Truth by Matt Coyle
Released December 5th
A hard-boiled PI novel for fans of Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald and Dashiell Hammett.
Rick Cahill has long feared the truth about his own blood—the blood of his father coursing through his veins.
When a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force twenty-seven years ago and then spiraled into an early drunken death, Rick determines to find the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.
But as he grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to find out if her husband is having an affair—or is involved in something much more sinister. Could the truth send her back into Rick’s arms? Would he have a last shot at happiness? He may never get the chance to find out, as killers who will do anything to protect their secrets lurk in the shadows.
Class Murder by Leigh Russell
No Exit Press
Released on December 7th
With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he’s the boss.
When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?
Corrosion by Jon Bassoff
Down & Out Books
To be released on December 11th
A mysterious Iraq war veteran with a horribly scarred face…A disturbed young man in a strange mountain town…A masked preacher with a terrible secret…Amidst a firestorm of violence, betrayal and horror, their three worlds will eventually collide in an old mining shack buried deep in the mountains.
Corrosion, the shattering debut novel by Jon Bassoff, is equal parts Jim Thompson, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner, and an unforgettable journey into the underbelly of crime and passion. Drawn from the darkest corners of the human experience, it is sure to haunt readers for years to come.
Note: This is one in a series of books by Jon Bassoff to be published by Down & Out Books this week. Check their website for more details.
Accidental Outlaws by Matt Phillips
All Due Respect Books
To be released on December 15th
Three linked crime novellas that follow working class antiheroes as they indulge in theft, murder, and lawless shenanigans. Ain’t no cops running things out this way.
In “Mesa Boys,” Ronnie plots a haphazard heist with a twisted con man. In “The Feud,” tough-as-nails Rex lets his resentment for a local pot dealer cloud his judgement. And, in “Bar Burning,” a mysterious drifter goes toe-to-toe with his new lady’s psychotic ex-husband.
Accidental Outlaws is a hellfire ride through working class America’s angsty underbelly.
“The hardest hitting rural noir I’ve read in ages, like a mule-kick in the teeth.” —CS DeWildt, author of Love You to a Pulp and Kill ’Em with Kindness
May by Marietta Miles
Published by Down & Out Books
To be released in January 2018
May, lonely drifter and small time weed dealer, has spent years running from her ugly past. As a damaging nor’easter takes aim at her sleepy island home of Folly, however, she rushes to shore up, settle in and keep safe. Though most of the islanders have evacuated, May is not entirely alone. Spoiled city kid Curtis, fleeing his own dark secrets, along with naïve local boy Tommy, are also stuck on the island, both boys tweaking, both desperate but only one grows vile and violent. To save the boy and to save herself, May must learn to be bad.
“Every page has a lovely line, something to savor, even as the story uneasily slips under your skin. There’s beauty in the violence in this novella about loneliness and the lengths people go to free themselves from its grasp. You read May and imagine Marietta Miles sitting at the edge of the abyss, peering into it and scribbling into her notebook.” —E.A. Aymar, author of You’re As Good As Dead
Jack Waters by Scott Alderberg
Broken River Books
To be released in January 2018
“Scott Adlerberg’s Jack Waters is the story about a man who doesn’t believe in murder, unless you haven’t paid your gambling debt. Reminiscent of the great South American novels, this tale takes us to an unnamed island in the Caribbean where Jack Waters takes refuge in the gorgeous tropics, hiding out from the Americans who want to hang him for his crime. But Jack Waters is too full of bravado, too American to stay low for long. Mixing with both the island’s wealthy elite and poor rebels, Jack Waters must eventually choose a side, and grow a moral center, if he wants to keep his head. With Adlerberg’s effortless prose and compelling characters, Jack Waters is a wonderful novel to curl up with.” – Jen Conley, author of Cannibals
Meeting the Perfect Translator for My Book
By Michael Frank | Lit Hub
“You have to realize,” Karsten said at one point, “I’ve been living inside your brain—the product of your brain—for three months now. There are so many questions I’d love to ask.”
By S.W. Lauden | Crime + Mystery + Interviews
“Genre seems only to exist for readers to find books in a library or bookstore—and as a reader I understand that. Appreciate it. Keep shit organized. Thank you Dewey Decimal. But from the writer side of things—the idea of genre breaks down when the goal is to write the story you’re feeling at the time with the characters who crop up.”
The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Adam Howe
By Tom Leins | Dirty Books
“Before we start this Q&A, I have a confession make, a scandalous confession for any man, let alone the editor of an anthology of wrestling fiction…but until recently I was not really much of a rasslin fan. Sure, I loved it as a kid. But once I found other combat sports – dare I say REAL ones – I never really looked back.”
What Makes A Great Financial Thriller
By Martin Bodenham | Lit Hub
“. . . the financial thriller is still finding its feet as a sub-set of crime fiction. The earliest work of its type that I’ve read was The Billion Dollar Sure Thing, a 1973 novel written by former banker and convicted fraudster, Paul Erdman. He wrote it while awaiting trial in a Swiss jail. Erdman called his books “fi-fi” but, sadly, the genre label never stuck. Apart from The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer, and one or two others, for some reason, the financial thriller hasn’t yet witnessed the long line of big name authors sported by its legal cousin.”
Why We Need Border Fiction More Than Ever
By Justin Hunter | Lit Reactor
Note from David Nemeth: I almost didn’t publish a link to this story because I detest headlines like this one. However, there are some good recommendations in this article and the fact is that crime fiction has its own thriving sub-genre: border noir.
Why Do Meh Books Sell
By Holly West | Do Some Damage
“Recently, I read a book that pissed me off. Not the subject matter–it was a standard mystery, published by one of the Big 5. I liked it well enough until about a quarter through, when I got to what must’ve been the most blatant info dump since Dan Brown entertained us with THE DA VINCI CODE.”
A Conversation with John McNally
By Dana King | One Bite at a Time
“When I write fiction, my blue-collar upbringing influences nearly every story I write because employment and money (or lack thereof) are usually at the core of the story in a meaningful way.”
The Best Crime Novels of 2017
By Marilyn Stasio | The New York Times
Blerg. Oops, no small presses.
Five Crime Must-Reads This December
By Lisa Levy | Lit Hub
Yup, small presses shut out again.
Taking Back Fight Club
By Ben Lelievre | Dead End Follies
“Everyone has seen Fight Club at least once and developed a strong opinion on it over the last twenty years. It’s something you either unconditionally love, unconditionally hate or think is slightly overrated. There are no mild emotions involved when discussing this movie. I’ve seen it maybe forty, fifty times and read the Chuck Palahniuk novel eight or nine times. I do believe it’s the most important book I’ve ever read.”
The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Eryk Pruitt
By Tom Leins | Dirty Books
“I love the old days at the Dallas Sportatorium when the Von Erich brothers ruled the World Class Championship Wrestling federation. This was before WWE, and it preceded the theatrics of the WWF. Everyone in Dallas grew up knowing how to administer The Iron Claw and had a favorite Von Erich brother. (Mine was Kevin.) I dug the tag team matches, when the brothers got to wrestle together, and I loved to hate Percy Pringle, who later became famous in WWE as Paul Bearer.”
Interview with Jacqueline Chadwick
By Abby Slater-Fairbrother | Anne bonny book reviews
“With a character like Ali Dalglish, there’s never any shortage of possibilities so the ideas flow easily and the series comes together relatively effortlessly. I adore the writing process, every aspect of it (even the scary, heart-pounding moments of sending it off and hoping it won’t be rejected) it’s all exciting and rewarding.”
Emma Cline countersues after ex claims she used spyware to plagiarise his work
By Associated Press | The Guardian
“Author of The Girls is being sued by former boyfriend, who alleges that her bestselling novel about a Manson-style cult uses material from his own writing”
Goodreads Goes Full Publish America!
By Sam Belacqua | Do Some Damage
“Good grief. Look, basically these mother fuckers who run Amazon and Goodreads want you to pay money to make the shit you want to sell on their site more visible. The easy angle is to say they want to charge you if you want to give away your book for free. OK. Don’t clutch them pearls too hard. They want to charge you for using their site to sell your shit. Bingo bango bongo. Amazon and Goodreads are the same folks now, so they want to use that to make money. Good for them. Also, fuck them.”
New Talent November 2017 – A Recap
By Garrick Webster | Crime Fiction Lover
If you’ve missed any of these articles, here is a handy collection of links to the 2017 edition of New Talent November.
Bad sex award won by Christopher Bollen’s phallic ‘billiard rack’
By Alison Flood | The Guardian
“An overenthusiastic attempt to “describe the familiar in new terms”, which led to the male genitals being portrayed as an anatomically confusing “billiard rack”, has won the American author Christopher Bollen the Literary Review’s annual Bad sex in fiction award.”
The Scenes of the Most Infamous Crimes, NYC
By R.G. Belsky | The Big Thrill
“There were eight different shooting scenes for the real-life Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, throughout the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. But perhaps the most notable site was near the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx where, after fatally killing a young man and woman sitting in a parked car, Berkowitz left behind his first note to the police and media in which he called himself “Son of Sam.””
7 Crime Fiction Editors on the State of the Short Story Market
By Thomas Pluck | SleuthSayers
“The MWA minimum has a huge bearing on payment. The minimum is not large but it does several things: it makes each story we buy a professional transaction for the writer, it makes their work eligible for awards consideration (which would be wonderful for circulation), and as Eric says later, free does not work as a business model in the book and magazine business. If we don’t respect your work enough to pay for it, how willing are you going to be to work with me on the editing—some of which gets extensive, I’m not just a pass/fail type editor (two stories in the new issues have endings from me, and a story in the next issue will as well.”
How Much Money Do Authors Really Make: One Agent’s Rant
By Paula Munier | Career Authors
“But as James Michener once said, you can make a killing in this business, but you can’t make a living. Or was it Sherwood Anderson or Norman Mailer—apparently lots of writers have said something like this. Maybe because it’s true.”
Chicago Has a New Crime Fiction Press
By Lori Rader-Day | Chicago Review of Books
“She’s (Jamie Freveletti) given some of those qualities and more to Emma Caldridge, the protagonist of her Thriller Award-winning series. Caldridge returns this month in her fifth outing, Blood Run. It’s the inaugural title from Calexia Press, a new publisher of crime fiction headquartered in Chicago. Jamie Freveletti is the founder, though she plans to continue publishing work traditionally, too.”